iPhone: 7 3rd-party applications we want now

Opening up the iPhone for 3rd party applications would boost its desirability even further

No one expects their mobile phone to do everything. Unless you own an Apple iPhone, that is. While most owners are still purring over the interface, the apps, the look, the screen - heck, the darned iPhone-ness of it all - a few souls are still wishing it had just that little bit more...

It seems after all the hype and super-cranked up expectations, iPhone 1.0 doesn't quite have absolutely everything onboard. Not surprising - no mobile can do it all, not even the long-awaited Apple messiah mobile.

While some early-owner gripes might appear a touch unreasonable on such a generously endowed mobile phone (no owners of other 8GB-memory phones, for instance, would grumble that they didn't have 60GB), there is room for improvement. While plenty of space has already been given to the 3G issue and other curious basic omissions (video recording, MP3 ringtones, MMS, etc.), we've also been thinking about what third party applications would be most appealing on the iPhone.

A few "If only..." third party applications could make The Most Desirable Mobile Ever an even more mouth-wateringly attractive device. For the time being of course, Apple doesn't support full third party application development for the iPhone ( only Web 2.0-based apps ). So what third party apps would we like to add if we could get hold of the iPhone in the UK right now...?

1. Plug-in

The iPhone version of the Safari browser doesn't support Flash - something that really should be on a device with such multimedia aspirations. That's a big disappointment for anyone expecting the full web experience.

This is something we expect Apple to rectify soon in one of its first firmware upgrades. According to Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg , Apple has said it is working on adding an Adobe Flash plug-in soon - perhaps in the next couple of months.

2. Satellite navigation

Get from A to B without getting L-O-S-T. It would be great to have the delicious interface of the iPhone brought into play for satellite navigation. For NokiaSymbian smartphones and Windows Mobile devices, satnav is now part of the territory. The recent Nokia N95 has an integrated GPS receiver, as do a growing number of touchscreen Windows Mobile devices, such as the HTC P3600 .

But even those without GPS receivers inside will work with separate Bluetooth enabled GPS receivers and numerous navigation mapping and software applications from the likes of TomTom , CoPilot and Route66 supplied on swappable memory cards (or via remote server-based navigation systems such as Wayfinder ).

3. Great games

Anyone checking out recent high-end mobile games can see just how good they're getting. With the phenomenal display and touchscreen functionality of the iPhone, the iPhone could be a games developer's dream platform.

How much would you love to play a version of World of Warcraft on the iPhone? Nokia is about to introduce a multi-platform mainstream mobile re-incarnation of its N-Gage platform on Symbian S60 smartphones, and sophisticated mobile gaming is now firmly part of the mobile entertainment package.

4. Skype

Having spent a heap of cash buying the iPhone and signing up to a 2-year airtime deal, perhaps iPhone users could soften the wallet-walloping by having Skype support for internet calling. OK, so mobile operators have yet to welcome revenue-threatening VoIP providers, but what about when users are connected via Wi-Fi? May still be too tricky a subject for Apple to broach with operators...

5. SlingPlayer Mobile

Working in conjunction with a Slingbox device attached to a home TV set-up, SlingPlayer Mobile could let iPhone users watch all their favourite TV channels on the device as easily as if they were in their living room. SlingPlayer also gives complete access to and control over a home TV system.